Femi Falana (SAN), Human Rights Activist has appealed the legality of the order of the Federal High Court in Abuja that gave the Department of State Service, DSS, permission to detain the convener of the RevolutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore, for 45 days.
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had granted the DSS permission to detain Sowore for 45 days to allow it complete its investigation. The move by DSS followed the alleged interception of a video footage wherein Sowore was seen and heard saying the secret police would seize to exist after the August 5 Revolution Now protest.
In a motion of appeal, Falana contended that the order which the vacation judge granted on the strength of an ex parte application that was brought by the DSS, was illegal and unconstitutional. He maintained that the detention order breached the fundamental right provisions of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
He specifically applied for, “An order of this honourable court setting aside, discharging and/or vacating the ex parte order of this Honourable Court for the detention of the Respondent/Applicant for a period of 45 days made on the 8th August, 2019, Coram: Taiwo Taiwo J, in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/879/2019 between State Security Service V. Omoyele Sowore”.
“The detention of the respondent/applicant for an initial 4 days period before the grant of the ex-parte order is illegal by virtue of Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“The order ex-parte brought pursuant to Section 27 (1) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2013 was obtained by the applicant/respondent to legalise an illegal detention by the applicant/respondent.
“The applicant/respondent dumped the video evidence in support of its application on the Honourable Court whilst the learned trial judge watched same in his chambers and not in the open court.
“The respondent/applicant was arrested on Saturday 3rd August, 2019 before the planned protest that took place on Monday 5th August, 2019 while he was already under the custody of the Applicant/Respondent.
“The persons who participated in the protests of 5th August, 2019 have been charged with unlawful assembly at the Magistrate Courts at Ebute-Metta, Lagos State and Calabar, Lagos State.
“The applicant/respondent had concluded investigation of this case and announced its findings. The Respondent/Applicant had also volunteered statement to the Applicant/Respondent.
“At the time of the hearing of the motion ex-parte, the respondent/applicant was in custody of the applicant/respondent at Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court.
“The day the motion ex-parte was filed at the registry of this Honorable Court, the respondent/applicant was allowed by the applicant/respondent to consult his Counsel, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN on phone”.
“The Applicant/Respondent motion exparte filed 5th August, 2019, did not disclose any fact capable of linking the Respondent /Applicant to any terrorism activity.
“That in the same vein the motion filed 5th August, 2019 did not in the supporting Affidavit allude to facts linking the Respondents/Applicants to any terrorism activity.
“The Applicant’s detention has exceeded the maximum period a court of law can allow the Respondent to detain the Applicant in accordance with the provisions of Section 35 (4) (a) of the Constitution of Nigeria (AS AMENEDED) 2011 which only empowered the Applicant/Respondent to detain the Applicants for a maximum period of two months from the date of their arrest.
“That the Order made on 8th August, 2019 was based on a wrong presumption and mistake that the Complaint against the respondent therein relates to terrorism.
“That by virtue of Section 293 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, an application for the remand of any suspect is to be made before a Magistrate Court.
“By virtue of the actions of the Applicant/Respondent, the Respondents/Applicants right to life, dignity of human person, health and freedom of movement are under threat as same is currently being violated by the Respondent without any justification known to law”, Falana argued.